Heavy Load – Death or Glory – 1982

Death or GloryIf we’re talking about Swedish Heavy Metal bands, there’s one band that comes to mind – Heavy Load. They were true pioneers of the genre in Sweden back in the day. They fulfill all criteria of a cult band too. Maybe they weren’t that obscure back in the day but they sure didn’t get the attention they deserved. Maybe that’s why they didn’t stick around for long either. They just weren’t willing to compromise their music for greater success. If I’m not mistaken they released only three albums during their career. Death or Glory is the second full-length album from these Nordic Vikings.

Sadly, I don’t own their first album, Full speed at High Level on vinyl but I have the other albums and singles in my vault. I know they’re worth a lot of money now but selling them is not an option. Don’t even ask. I haven’t listened to them for a very long time though. I guess I was afraid that their sound wouldn’t suit me anymore. Call me brave or stupid but I had to check this out. Death or Glory?

I was amazed but the guitar work and the compositions. It still sounds very modern and It isn’t hard to understand why Heavy Load this has such a high reputation in the metal communities till this day. They were so ahead of their time! Listen to the drums, the guitars and the bass lines and you’ll see. I give a very high rating on these parts. Close to masterpiece actually.

However, … The brother Ragne- and Styrbjörn Walquist who were the bands solid ground doesn’t really succeed with the vocals. They share this duty depending on who wrote the song. I think the other guitarist Eddy Malm, sings a song as well. And it’s really nothing wrong with the pitch or anything else. But the production… The vocal track just sounds awful. It takes a lot from the experience for me. Just imagine if this part was up to par with the instrumental production. This would go down in history as one of the best true metal masterpieces of all time.

It’s still an interesting document of what Heavy Load was all about but the vocal track takes so much effort to get along with that the rating drop significantly.


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Tommy Snöberg Söderberg

Autodidact film scholar and music-loving thinker who reads the occasional book.

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